Under_the_Pergola
Reviews

Insight and Exaltation

Readers who know the exceptional poetry of Catharine Savage Brosman will recognize familiar landscapes and motifs in her latest book, Under the Pergola.  The collection is divided into two sections.  The first, On Bayou Bonfouca, comprises poems that reflect the people, topography, flora, and fauna of south Louisiana from greater New Orleans to the Texas border.  Though she has previously written numerous poems focused on this area, Brosman always delights the reader with new angles of vision and fresh ideas generated by the scenery and characters.

The second section, Under the Pergola, consists of an assortment of types.  The first three take us to the majestic vistas of the American West, whose stark, awe-inspiring scenery has animated some of her most stunning poems.  The next nine continue her ongoing exploration of foods, both common and exotic.  I marvel at her ability to make interesting, even riveting, so many poems about such a mundane topic as what we eat.  Part of her magic arises from her deft handling of form.  Six of these poems are written in iambic-pentameter quatrains with an abab rhyme scheme, and her unerring choices of rhyming words exhibit not only her fine ear for the music of language but also her grasp of the principle of “organic rhyme,” where there is a thematic relationship between the rhymed words. ...

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